Auto accidents can quickly introduce unexpected and complex challenges into your life. Not only do you face trauma from the accident itself, you may face long-term injuries, pain and suffering, and a great deal of lost time from work. It can feel like life will never get back to normal.
If you’ve been involved in an auto accident because of someone else’s negligence or wrongful actions, you may be entitled to significant compensation. To receive the payment you deserve, it can be important to work with an experienced Mt. Pleasant auto accident attorney who knows how to navigate the legal system, negotiate with insurance companies, and prove your case in court if necessary. For auto accidents in the Mt. Pleasant area, contact the battle-tested team at Hughey Law Firm today at (843) 881-8644.
The Car Accident Claim Process
Most car accidents resolve by reaching a settlement agreement with the at-fault party’s insurance company. This claims process is extremely complicated, and insurance companies actively try to settle cases for as little as possible. For this reason, it’s always a good idea to retain an attorney to represent you after a car crash.
Some of the most important steps involved in the car accident claims process include:
- Determining who was at fault for the accident
- Evaluating both your economic and non-economic damages, such as your medical expenses, lost income, lost quality of life, and physical and emotional pain and suffering
- Making a claim and drafting a demand letter outlining your losses
- Engaging in settlement negotiations with the insurance company
- If you cannot agree to a settlement, filing a lawsuit to pursue your losses
As a car accident victim, keep in mind that the insurance company deals with insurance claims every day and is in the business of mitigating its risk and minimizing payouts whenever possible. The best way to protect your rights and get the compensation you deserve is by retaining a lawyer as soon as you can after an accident.
The Effects of Auto Accidents
Auto accidents can cause a wide range of injuries, many of which may have a long-term impact on an accident victim’s quality of life.
These may include:
- Traumatic brain injury – Traumatic brain injuries are often the result of a bump or blow to the head, and they can leave victims with significant medical problems and healthcare expenses.
- Whiplash – Whiplash is a non-medical term that refers to soft tissue injuries to the neck that often occur when the head snaps back and forth with significant force. Whiplash often affects victims of read-end accidents and can lead to chronic pain.
- Spinal cord damage – Damage to the spinal cord can lead to devastating outcomes, including the complete loss of function and feeling below the site of the injury.
- Broken bones – The forces involved in auto accidents can often lead to broken bones, which can be extremely painful and require significant medical treatment.
- Soft tissue damage, including sprains and strains – Soft tissue injuries like sprains and strains are common in even minor wrecks, and victims often experience significant discomfort and time away from work as a result.
- Organ damage – Injuries to your internal organs after a car accident can be life-threatening and may not become symptomatic for hours—so see a physician after an auto collision.
- Lacerations – Lacerations occur when an object breaks the skin and are often the result of blunt trauma. When deep enough, they require stitches or reconstructive surgery to repair and can leave victims with permanent scarring.
- Burns – Burns can occur in motor vehicle accidents in which the vehicles catch fire or explode. In addition, when airbags deploy, occupants can suffer burns because of the explosives they use to inflate. Burns can be extremely painful, require significant medical treatment, and leave victims with substantial scarring.
People, Governments, and Corporations Can Cause Auto Accident Injuries
In many cases, the other driver bears the brunt of the responsibility for auto accident injuries. In some cases, however, other parties may bear legal liability, such as:
- In drunk driving cases, the bar or restaurant who over-served the driver may be responsible for some of your injuries.
- If you’re dealing with an underage drunk driver, anyone who provided them with alcohol can be held liable for resulting accidents and injuries.
- The state and cities are responsible for adequately and safely maintaining roads, so if there were unsafe conditions that contributed to your accident, the government may bear partial responsibility.
- If you were involved in an accident with a commercial vehicle operated by an individual who was on their way to or from work or who was operating the vehicle as part of their work responsibilities, the company may bear partial liability for your injuries.
Working with an experienced car accident attorney can be the most effective way to determine who may be legally liable for your injuries. In some cases, there may be more than one party responsible. The sooner your attorney is able to identify potentially responsible parties, the better the chances that you recover the compensation you deserve.
The Losses an Auto Accident Can Cause You
Your auto accident left you with significant injuries, including long-term pain and suffering. Working with an attorney with knowledge of auto accident cases can the most effective way to determine the range of damages you may be entitled to recover. These may include:
- Compensation for your medical bills. You may need help paying for both the initial cost of hospitalization and long-term medical expenses. Any damages calculation will take into consideration any ongoing therapy or need for increased care as a result of your injuries.
- Lost wages and lost earning potential. Your injuries have kept you out of work, leading to a decrease in income through no fault of yours. Your earning potential may also have permanently decreased as a result of your injuries or an inability to work as you once could.
- Compensation for pain and suffering. Following your auto accident, you’ve experienced significant pain and suffering, and you’re due compensation for it. This amount can be difficult to quantify, making working with a lawyer a critical part of the process.
- Wrongful death damages. If a loved one has been killed in an auto accident because of someone else’s negligence or wrongful actions, you and your family may be entitled to recover damages to compensate you for your loss of companionship, the loss of your loved one’s income, and funeral expenses, among others.
How We’ve Helped Car Accident Victims
At Hughey Law Firm, we’re committed to the aggressive representation of our clients as we pursue the compensation they deserve for their injuries. Our previous results include but are not limited to substantial payouts to clients who have been seriously injured in auto accidents, including a $1.65 million settlement for an individual injured in a reckless driving case, a trucking accident case worth more than $5 million, and another trucking accident in which more than $2 million in damages were recovered.
Of course, each of these results depended on the unique circumstances surrounding the accidents in question, and there is no guarantee of recovering damages in any particular case. What is certain is that the knowledgeable, diligent attorneys at Hughey Law Firm work their hardest to achieve the best outcome possible for our every client.
Charleston County Car Accident Statistics
A Lawyer Can Help You Overcome Opposition
In auto accident cases, insurance companies typically play a large role in determining when and how much victims get paid. Unfortunately, those companies may try to avoid paying you the full amount you deserve. There are two key tactics insurers often use to minimize their exposure.
First, they often try to limit the liability of their clients by arguing that you bear more responsibility for your accident than you really do, or that someone else other than their insured bears responsibility for the accident, as in the case of a drunk driver who was over-served at a bar or restaurant.
Second, insurance companies may also try to limit their financial responsibility by offering a low settlement that does not adequately reflect the damages that you ought to receive. Working with your attorney can help establish the appropriate amount of damages to demand from insurance companies and other parties responsible.
Frequently Asked Questions FAQs
South Carolina is a state that enjoys both rural and urban landscapes. Our cities are maturing, time honored places that continue to grow and thrive, while the rural areas offer tranquil coastlines and lush forested hills. Winding roads, characteristic of the rural landscape, coupled with increased traffic flow from the densely-populated urban centers, unfortunately, increases the risks of car accidents. Although no one expects to be involved in a car accident, in South Carolina, accidents are not uncommon. Below we answer from frequently asked questions about the legal processes available for victims of car accidents.
What is at-fault in South Carolina?
South Carolina uses a fault-based system for dealing with car accidents. That means the person whose fault causes an accident is responsible for any resulting damages, repairs, and medical expenses. Damages may include costs associated with pain and suffering, both mental and physical, caused by the accident. In more severe accidents, causing death or serious injury, criminal proceedings may be pursued as well.
Are all drivers required to obtain insurance?
In a perfect world, car accidents wouldn’t happen, however, because all accidents cannot be prevented, it would be ideal if every driver was required to obtain automobile insurance.
Automobile insurance policies operate to cover the costs associated with damages and injuries resulting from car accidents. Ideally, the at fault party’s policy will cover the damages suffered by all those involved. Under South Carolina law, drivers are required to obtain at least minimum coverage. Drivers operating motor vehicles without insurance may face harsh fines and penalties in the event of an accident.
However, to cover accident costs, in South Carolina, all insured drivers are required to obtain uninsured motorist insurance as part of their automobile insurance policy. If you are in an accident with an uninsured motorist, even if you are not at fault, your insured motorist coverage will cover your initial expenses.
Does car insurance provide coverage in a hit-and-run accident?
In South Carolina, car insurance policies include hit-and-run coverage. The required uninsured motorist coverage extends to damages incurred from an accident where the other driver fled the scene.
What other kinds of insurance are available?
All insurance companies offer varying levels of protection. Basic liability insurance will provide minimum coverage, while more comprehensive policies will provide higher amounts of coverage with different deductible options. In addition, comprehensive coverage may also cover losses where another driver is not at fault, such as a fire or other event causing loss.
What happens if the other party doesn’t have insurance?
After an accident with an uninsured driver, consult an attorney to ensure you will not have to pay out-of-pocket expenses. As mentioned, under South Carolina law, the person whose fault causes the accident is liable for all accident-related damages. Depending on the severity of the accident and seriousness of the injuries, costs may be significant. Mandatory coverage is a way in which drivers are mutually covered and are still held accountable for their actions.
If the other driver doesn’t have car insurance, they are equally as responsible for costs, but will be personally liable. Considering the risks involved in getting into an accident and the potentially massive expenses, it is always in someone’s best interest to have insurance.
Is car insurance required by law?
If an uninsured driver is stopped by law enforcement, for any reason, they may face some serious consequences including:
- Driver’s license suspension.
- Vehicle registration suspension.
- Fees to reinstate their license and registration (if proof of insurance cannot be provided within 20 days of citation).
- Uninsured motorist fees and verification from their insurance company to the state that they have insurance for three years.
Experienced car accident attorneys regularly fight for the rights of injured victims to seek the compensation they are entitled to, including accidents involving uninsured motorists. The stiff penalties associated with driving without insurance are intended to deter uninsured motorists from driving to ensure everyone is protected.
What do I do after a car accident?
- By law, if an accident results in death or an injury, you must stop your vehicle and remain at the scene of the accident. You may only leave the scene if it is required to report the accident to police or first responders.
- Make sure everyone involved is safe and receives the assistance they need. When necessary:
- Call an ambulance;
- Call the police; or
- Administer first aid.
- If you can safely move your vehicle out of the way of traffic, do so to avoid causing additional accidents and allow traffic to proceed.
- Failure to stop or comply with the law is considered a misdemeanor or felony and may result in a conviction that involves imprisonment of 30 days to ten years, and fines of thousands of dollars.
- If someone has died in the accident, do not move the vehicle.
- When a death occurs, the scene is considered a crime scene. Law enforcement officers may only move the vehicle after a thorough investigation has been completed.
- Exchange driver’s license and insurance information with the other party involved.
- Gather as much information as you can because it may prove to be critical evidence should you decide to pursue legal action. If possible:
- Gather contact information from eyewitnesses; and
- Take pictures of the scene of the accident.
- Even if you have not been injured, it is in your best interest to notify the police and wait for them to arrive. The police will make an official report, which may prevent your claim from being discredited later.
- If you or anyone else involved are injured in an accident, consider contacting an attorney.
How do I protect my rights?
If you were injured in an accident, you have legal protections and rights that will ensure you are compensated for accident-related damages. It is important to know that the statute of limitations determines the amount of time within which victims are entitled to file a claim. In South Carolina, victims may bring a personal injury claim within three years of the date of the accident. Don’t wait to speak with an attorney. An attorney can handle the legal complexities associated with your claim, so you may focus on your recovery.
Navigating the legal landscape that is associated with a car accident in South Carolina can be complicated. To maximize the amount of compensation you are entitled to seek, hiring an experienced attorney may be critical.
Your pain and suffering, permanent disabilities, trauma, medical expenses, or damage to your vehicle may be included in your personal injury claim. Insurance companies will often try to quickly offer victims inadequate settlements, in an attempt to save money on insurance claims. When appropriate, an attorney may evaluate the value of your claim and negotiate with insurance companies to ensure you are fairly compensated.
Is it Time to Call a Mt. Pleasant Car Accident Attorney?
While you are undergoing treatment for your injuries and trying to focus on your physical recovery, adding in a legal claim can seem overwhelming. For this reason, too many people put off contacting an attorney for help after a car accident. However, the sooner you get the right lawyer working on your case, the better results you might obtain.
Our attorneys will get to work on the following and more:
- Investigating the cause of the crash
- Identifying all liable parties and their insurers
- Preparing and filing persuasive insurance claims
- Handling all communications and negotiations with insurers
- Providing evidence of liability and your damages
- Advising when a settlement offer is fair or not
- Filing a lawsuit in civil court if needed
While we do all of this, you can stay focused on your physical recovery with the peace of mind that we are protecting your legal rights.
Best of all, we work solely on a contingency basis for injured clients, which means you need no money out of pocket to retain our services. If we don’t obtain a settlement or award for you, we receive no fees at all.
“I couldn’t be more pleased with the level of service I received from Nate at Hughey Law Firm. He took the time to not only learn about my case but also to learn about my father. I could tell all throughout the procedures that he had my best interest in mind and I would recommend him anytime on any case. Thank you so much.”
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